The greenest megawatt is one that that doesn’t have to be created and is often referred to as a “negawatt”. The term was first used by Amory Lovins, A US author of many books on renewable energy and energy efficiency, in a 1989 speech.
While 2008 will remembered as the year when renewable energy moved from the fringe into the mainstream in Australia, 2009 will see an increased focus on negawatts and energy efficiency programs in the country.
Starting January 1 2009, South Australia and Victoria will be the first states offering householders energy efficiency incentives programs delivered via local electricity retailers.
In Victoria, the Energy Saver Incentive, part of the Victorian Energy Efficiency Target (VEET), is a requirement placed on energy retailers throughout the state to help achieve their emission reduction targets through energy efficiency activities. This will include providing households with energy saving products and services at little or no cost. The scheme is expected to reduce the average Victorian household electricity bill by around $45 per year.
In South Australia, the Residential Energy Efficiency Scheme (REES) program, will operate in a similar way.
In addition to simple energy efficiency strategies such as switching incandescent light globes to compact fluorescent lighting, electricity retailers will be encouraged to team up with renewable energy equipment suppliers to offer discounts to householders on larger items, such as solar hot water services.
Energy Matters, a national wind energy and solar power equipment and installation services provider based in Victoria, will be working with electricity utilities throughout the country in 2009 in forming partnerships to offer discounts on related equipment to their customers. Consumers will benefit through cheaper products and ongoing savings and electricity companies will score “points” through such purchases that will go towards their emissions reduction targets.